Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vui Kong’s family pleads at Istana

The family of Yong Vui Kong has been working hard these past two months – hitting the streets in both Singapore and Malaysia to collect signatures for a petition begging President SR Nathan to spare Vui Kong’s life.

Activists in Malaysia have rallied to their cause. By 10 am this morning, the campaign had collected a total of 109 346 signatures. Among those who signed were 44 Members of Parliament and 15 senators in Malaysia.

Vui Kong’s father and six siblings delivered the petition and signatures to the Istana earlier today. They were accompanied by Sabah MP Datuk Chua Soon Bui, some close relatives, as well as lawyers M Ravi and Ngeow Chow Ying.

Read more at The Online Citizen

Until the very last second.

"You may leave now"

At first I thought I had misheard, or at the very least misunderstood. We had just trudged uphill in the oppressive Singapore heat for 15 minutes, the family laden with binders, boxes and stacks of papers. Everyone was covered with a sheen of sweat. And that was only just the tiniest fraction of what the Yong family had been through.

For them, and the many activists who have supported them, today was the culmination of at least 2 months worth of tireless, persistent effort. Yong Vui Kong's family was on their way to submit the 109,346 signatures they had collected for the petition appealing to the President, and the Singapore government, for clemency. These signatures had been collected on the streets of Sabah and West Malaysia, as well as in Singapore and online.

While his siblings and close relatives had been walking the streets of Malaysia stopping everyone and anyone who would listen, Yun Leong – who is working in Singapore – had been going out on the streets alone during every lunch break, collecting signatures for the petition. He singlehandedly collected about 317 signatures. He was sick today, with a sore throat that made it difficult for him to speak. He said it'd been a long time since he'd slept well. But he was determined to keep fighting for his brother's life. And today he was going to submit all these precious signatures at the Istana, in the hopes that 109,346 voices would be enough.
But at the back gate of Istana – yes, they weren't allowed to submit the petition at the main gate facing the main road – the security officer of the Istana was brusque and businesslike. He, assisted by a colleague, accepted the petitions, turned on his heel and left, only pausing to say, "You may leave now."

Read more.

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